Saturday, September 14, 2013

SLCC Genealogy Course: Post #4 - The Research Cycle

My next assignment isn't due until Wednesday, Sept 18th but I already have it done. I am really hoping I can get a week or two ahead of my assignments. You just never know what life can bring you.

There was quite a bit of reading and watching videos on the Research Cycle. What really impresses me with the course is the time and effort that has been taken to gather educational resources all over the internet on the subjects we are covering. Now, I could just sit and read a book that someone wrote on genealogy and try to learn things that way.  But, what's neat is the class pulls from a variety of books, articles, blog posts, and videos and then you study just that one section currently being covered. We get to learn from many people at the same time.

When I went to college for accounting I had my accounting textbook required for the course, and then I went to DI and bought another college accounting textbook. I would read both textbooks on the section we were covering just so I was sure I understood the concepts being taught. It was easier for me to grasp the concept when I heard it presented different ways.  I feel like I'm getting that same learning experience in this course just because of the variety of presentation styles and instructors. I think that method is much more effective than if someone gave me one text book to learn from.

The assignment section was to read the "Standards for Sound Genealogical Research" from the National Genealogical Society . Then we needed to discuss a standard that was new to us, and why we thought it should be a standard. I don't know why posting on group discussions stresses me out. I write a blog after-all. I finally made my required post and also a comment on another person's post.

Here is what I wrote.
The standards are not new to me but I have one that I would like to add to: "State carefully and honestly the results of their own research, and acknowledge all use of other researchers' work."
Not only do we honestly need to state what is our research, but we need to HONESTLY and ACCURATELY acknowledge other researchers work that we reference. I once posted on a message board an inquiry about one of my great-grandparents. Another researcher posted his probably and possibles on the families. So in my genealogy notes for this grandparent I quoted the possibilities and what I needed to look at further.
I noted I have found no evidence YET that the possible parents suggested were correct. The mother would have been 54 years old and had him 5 years after the birth of her last known child. Way to speculative for me.
I believe in sharing with others what I find. I uploaded to RootsWeb my genealogy including all my notes. Someone else came along and jumped on the lead for the parents in my notes.  (I never added them as the person's parents in my database, it was only in the notes.) Then this person added them as the true parents in their genealogy.Then cited me as the source of that information. They quoted me wrong in my findings. To make matters worse they then uploaded their database to RootsWeb and other places and it's being spread out there by other copycat "genealogists".  The one plus I did achieve was to have the person that misquoted me, remove me as the source of that research in their online database.

The reason we need to "state carefully and honestly the results of [our] own research, and acknowledge all use of other researcher's work." is not only to give credit where credit is do, but to also help others know where the information and analysis of the data came from. The quality of our work, or lack of it, will give us the reputation as researchers we deserve.

This is my reply to another person's comment on the standard: Seek original records, or reproduced images of them when there is reasonable assurance they have not been altered, as the basis for their research conclusion.
When I went to the town in New York where my great-grandmother lived I requested a copy of her death certificate. The town clerk brings out the huge ledger and proceeds to create a certificate for me. They had a hard time reading the surname of her father. Something I really wanted to know. They asked me to look at it and I had a hard time with it. I asked if I could take a picture of the page so I could study the handwriting. I was told I wasn't allowed to do that, they also couldn't do that for me. I could only get a certificate.  They did the best they could with the name, but to this day I don't know if it's right. It has left a big impression on me about ordering certificates and how badly I want everything digitized in it's original format.
The course modules says we have completed the Basics section. The next section is on Organization, and I always love that subject. 

See ya tomorrow for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

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